Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lyell and Darwin

As some Seismos readers know, a passion of mine is collecting rare books. I have been at it since the late 1970s and now have about 120 titles that one could term rare.

The photo above is a very nice part of the collection, completed only this week with he addition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. The 1876 version of the 6th edition of Origin is the basis for all modern reprinting of his most famous book. It was the last edition edited by Darwin himself before his death in 1882. Only 1250 copies were printed, making 1876 the smallest print run except the 1859 first edition of Origin that also numbered 1250.

Charles Lyell was an older contemporary of Darwin and a close colleague. They are together again on my bookshelf.

From left-to-right in the photo, we have:

Lyell, 1834, Principles of Geology, 4 vol (3rd ed)
Lyell, 1885, Students Elements of Geology (4th ed)
Lyell, 1865, Elements of Geology (6th ed)
Lyell, 1863, Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man (1st ed)
Darwin, 1876, The Origin of Species (6th ed)
Darwin, 1871, The Descent of Man (1st ed, 2nd issue)

A rather shabby first edition of Origin sold at Sotheby's in December 2016 for $102K.

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